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Posted January 11, 2022

Sean Ring

By Sean Ring

The Die is Cast

Happy Hump Day!

The Family Ring is getting excited as our tickets are booked for our Italy move.

After 13 years in Asia, it's time for me to move on. But in these crazy times, there is a load of prep to do.

I'll take you through our steps. I hope the stuff I mention can be of use to you.

With that said, let's get to it.

Choosing the Place

First and foremost, you need to know where you're going.

While that may sound self-evident, this part can take ages.

Pam and I started talking about moving to Europe in 2014. And here we are, eight years later, finally going through with it.

There were lots of things we had to consider, namely:

    • Where we wanted to live
    • Where we could live
    • Where it made sense to live from a financial perspective

This is just a simple funneling process.

I'd start by making a list of places by country that you've either been to, plan to travel to, or have some ancestry in.

Once you've built out your dream list, get more practical to whittle it down.

This is where the first pillar of the Rude's Plan for Freedom comes in: a second passport.

A second passport is an invaluable document that can get you to one or multiple countries of your choosing.

That's because your second passport may entitle you to live in other countries besides the country of origin.

For example, as my Italian passport is a European Union passport, my family and I can live in any one of the European Union member states.

So great cities like Prague, Vienna, and Barcelona are open to us.

Your spouse may also have ancestral rights in another country he or she may not be aware of. Check it out. You may be pleasantly surprised.

Before we got my Italian passport, we considered Spain.

If you're a Filipino, as Pam is, you can apply for Spanish citizenship after only two years of residence.

(The Philippines are a former Spanish colony named after King Philip II, so Filipinos are granted that special privilege. Actually getting the passport takes a bit longer.)

So really have a think about your and your spouse's family tree.

Finally, make sure you'll be financially viable in your new city.

As my good friend James says, "Cash is the best cologne." So, if you've got it, fantastic.

If you're retired and are drawing pension funds, you may also be eligible for special deals. Portugal's Golden Visa Program comes to mind.

And if you've followed The Rude's advice and started an online business, then it doesn't matter where you live.

For me, my only real requirement on that front is to be near an international airport. That's just in case I need to travel to teach somewhere.

But for others, living in or near a big city for work is a must. And thats fine, though city living is much more expensive these days.

Visualizing what your ideal life looks like in your new country will help you greatly. It gives you a mental target.

Getting Your Documents Together

This is the painful part, no doubt about it.

Here's how my conversation went at the Italian Embassy in Manila:

"So, you're American?"

"Well, I was born there but renounced. I have a British passport."

"But your parents still live in America?"

"Yes."

"Ok. Are you married?"

"Yes, to a Filipina."

"Where did you get married?"

"Singapore."

"Ok. Do you have children?"

"Yes. One son."

"Where was he born?"

"Hong Kong."

"And where do you live now?"

"Cebu."

"Are you kidding me?"

"Nope."

"Ok, here's what you have to do. You need to gather all your documents, birth certificates, marriage certificates, and death certificates, for you, your wife, your son, your parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents in the document's country of origin, and they must be apostilled. Then come back to me when you're done."

(An apostilled document is the international equivalent of a notarized document. You can't just present old, musty documents anymore. They must be certified by the government who issues the documents."

This process took me - though I dare say my case was indeed a bit complicated - about 18 months, with some of the lazier governments (ahem, Joisey) taking a bit longer.

Luckily, I was in this region to pick up Pam's docs, our marriage certificate, and Micah's birth certificate, or this would have been insanely expensive.

Then the government-mandated private-sector shutdown happened and the whole process took a year longer than it had to.

So, start right away!

By the way, this is where a great international law firm, specializing in immigration cases, comes in.

We used italiancitizenshipassistance.com. They kindly agreed to give Rude readers get a 5% discount.

ICA got all my Italian ancestors' documents together for me, so I didn't have to travel to Italy.

Once you've established your right to live in a country by either passport or visa program, then you've got to fill in the visa documents, accompanied by more official documents, such as an apostilled marriage certificate.

(I suggest getting multiple apostilled certificates for marriage and birth if your government will oblige you. Just in case you need them later. That really helped us.)

Most times, before you apply for a visa, you must have your flights booked.

This is the fun part. As we're on the ass-end of the world, getting back to Europe takes about 15 hours. We're flying Qatar Airways, from Cebu via Doha to Rome. They got some great international business class deals going on right now.

Since we haven't traveled internationally for two years, we decided to treat ourselves. Business class the whole way for Pam, Micah, and me cost $3,206.90.

For business class, thats cheap. To me, that cost for a flight that long when we're not used to it is completely worth it.

Medical Clearance

I cant comment on the Project Veritas covid document dump that happened overnight my time, but it looks pretty damning at first glance.

Be that as it may, medical clearance, whether through vaccination or a clean bill of health is a must. Most countries wont let you get on a plane without this, so make sure you follow the instructions to the letter.

And if you dont like those instructions, either choose another place or wait a bit longer to see if the rules change.

But I have a feeling the covid rules may change this coming spring if what Ive seen so far of the document dump is real.

Have Fun with It

Though sometimes tortuous, this process has been a revelation. How governments work, what we really wanted, and how to make a long-term plan come to fruition are just some of the things we learned.

After spending hours watching YouTube videos trying to figure out the where, the when, and the how, I hope this piece both excites you to action and makes the process shorter.

Until tomorrow.

All the best,

Sean

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